Closet Clean Out: Spring 2014 Overhaul

Happy May and welcome to my new clothing and accessories organization series on OLJ!  I am super excited to be sharing a look into the organization overhaul of my closets, drawers, and vanity, both at our main home in Illinois as well as our family vacation home in Utah.  I definitely have the organization itch right now, especially since I’ve been in a major purge phase of my things for the past few months. I decided it was appropriate to kick of the series with a chat about my recent purge process as well as a proper before tour of my closet in our main home.

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I am not the type to weed through my belongings just once or twice a year, instead preferring to keep a “to donate” bin in my closet year round that I toss things into as I see fit.  I really like Umbra Crunch Cans for this purpose.  They’re big enough to hold quite a bit, but narrow enough to not take up too much room in my closet.  Once the bin is filled, I send the items off to charity and start all over again making for a continual process.  This year, however, I felt the need for a bigger purge and decided to take a harder, more dedicated look at my wardrobe.  I have been going through all of my clothing and accessories (as well as makeup!) section by section over the past few months, trying on about 90% of my wardrobe and passing on about 50% of it.  There is quite a bit to get through since I have accumulated quite a few things in the past fifteen years and have a tendency to hold onto things that still fit even if they don’t suit me anymore.  Rather than overwhelm myself by taking it on all at once, I decided to just pick a section or two of my wardrobe about once a week and deal with the whole lot in little chunks.  This started with my dressers, where I literally went through one to two drawers per week.  Now I am finishing up the last few sections of my closet.

I organize all of my clothing by type, both in my drawers and in my closet, which makes it easy to break up the purging process into chunks.   For example, just this morning I went through all of my cardigan sweaters.  I hope to tackle my pants this weekend.  I pull the clothing I want to try on out and leave it folded on a chair in our bedroom.  My goal is to go through the pile and try everything on within a day or two, so I am not leaving piles out for weeks on end.  I usually only keep one crunch can in my closet, but for this big clean out I am using several.  I have filled two to the top with items to donate already!  I keep one in my bedroom right next to my mirror where I try on my things so it’s easy to just toss in what goes.  I think the third bin will be filled by the time my purging process has ended.  It feels good to let go of things that no longer suit me!  I realized it was a waste to hold onto things just because they still fit if I don’t enjoy wearing them anymore.  I want my closet to be filled with things I genuinely want to wear and feel good in.  Some of my clothing I’ve had for over 10 years.  While I may have loved these things back in my early twenties, just because they still fit doesn’t mean I have to love them now.  Letting go of things that have sentimental attachments can prove difficult, but I find that imagining other people getting some use out of things I no longer wear helps me to let go. I think it’s important to be flexible and open to change when it comes to your personal style and the same thing can be said for how you stock your wardrobe.  I’ve felt a big shift in my sense of style over the past year and I want my wardrobe to be filled with items I love wearing.

I also wanted to share a before look at my closet since I am planning on reorganizing it in the next few weeks.  It’s rather challenging to photograph or film because it is so long and narrow.  It is huge and I am by no means complaining about the size, but rather trying to explain the poor photographs.  Also, please bear in mind that this is a before look at my closet.  I’m hoping that the after look will be tidier!

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I like to refer to the closet in our master bedroom as “the bowling alley” thanks to its long and narrow layout.  We have ample room to store not only our clothing but also all of our luggage, many travel accessories, and more.  The front half of the closet is where we keep our clothing and accessories.  My stuff takes up the entire lefthand wall (photo on the left), while my husband Don’s things are stored on about half of the righthand wall (photo on the right).  This works out well, because the righthand wall bulges out a bit wider than the rest of the closet and can accommodate a deeper rod and shelf system for his manly clothing (and yes, I did mean to say manly clothing! 😉 ).

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The back half of the closet is where I store my handbags, scarves, and other accessories (photo on the left) as well as our massive assortment of travel items, including luggage and bins (the polka dot ones by Reisenthel) filled with packing accessories, travel toiletries, and smaller bags (photo on the right).  I am planning on moving all of those white bins on the upper two shelves which hold my impressive bear collection out of this closet and up into storage to make room for filming equipment.

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I thought I’d share a look at a couple of my accessories organization areas in my closet that have functioned pretty well for me since target=”_blank”>my first big overhaul back in 2011.  I still need to go through my shoes, but I like how I have them organized using clear shoe boxes for my heels, flats, and sandals, and hanging boot shapers for my boots (photo on the left).  This section is actually right up by the closet door.  My purse and wallet storage is at the end of the closet.  I love these drawers because they keep everything nicely tucked away from dust and light.  I designed and installed the entire closet myself when we first moved into the house seven years ago using Elfa.  I prefer this closet system because it is so easy to design to suit your needs as well as rearrange down the line if your needs change.

Like I said, it’s a bit difficult to get a real sense of this closet in photos.
I recommend checking out my coordinating video for a better look if you’re interested:

I would love to hear about your closet clean out process or tips for clothing organization if you’d care to share.  I look forward to sharing more of my spring clothing and accessories organization overhaul with you over the next month.
Happy organizing!

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29 comments

29 thoughts on “Closet Clean Out: Spring 2014 Overhaul”

  1. Thank you for sharing this organization process. I can’t wait to see what you all do with your closets and drawers! I tend to weed out my closet whenever we get a card in the mail saying that a donation truck is going to be in our area. That gets me motivated and when I get a box full it goes to the end of the driveway for the truck to come and pick up. It is a great charity that it goes to and I am very happy to donate to them.

    1. I do the same Barb S. Whenever Purple Heart has a truck in the area, it reminds me to give my donations I have put away!

  2. I’m excited about this series. I love a good closet cleanout and am always looking for ways to reorganize. Can you do a video about organizing clothes in a small closet? Many people do not have such large closets.

  3. 15 years…wow…you do an excellent job of taking care of your clothing and accessories! It would be great to see a video or blog post with tips on your method of upkeep for your clothing and accessories and shoes. Maybe links to certain products you use?Most of my clothing and accessories and shoes I have had for a good seven or eight years and they are still in good condition…would love to learn new methods of upkeep. Looking forward to the rest of the series! 🙂

    1. It appears that the volume of items you have is also contrinuting to their longevity. If you have the same shirt but have to wear it 3-4 times a week I am not sure simply by following instructions it would survive for 15 years. IMHO

      1. That’s true, although I do tend to wear my favorite items over and over again. I’m trying to whittle down my wardrobe so that it’s all favorites 🙂

  4. Love this! Perfect timing, too. I have been in the middle of my ‘annual purge’. I agree, very therapeutic. My inspiration this year has been the concept of building a core wardrobe built on high quality items that all work together. I found this idea on another YouTube channel, The Daily Connoisseur. Excellent.

  5. I JUST moved (literally two days ago) and I tried to purge as I was getting ready, but even as I am unpacking I am trying to purge more, clothing as well as household items, really everything. I too have been feeling a shift in things that has resulted in my wanting to downsize a lot. My lifestyle has changed due to illness, so what I wear or use has changed, and I was hanging onto things out of nostalgia. It feels good to donate things I know others can use and will enjoy, plus I will have less to keep up with, which is good for me.

    BTW, please don’t let people make you feel as if you have to apologize for having a nice sized closet. You shouldn’t have to explain what you have to anyone, you and Don work hard for what you have and it isn’t our business to judge! Thanks for a great series and another terrific video. 🙂

    1. Moving a great time to clean up and clear out things you no longer need or want. It can feel like a lot to take on, but the rewards are worth it!

  6. Wow that’s a big closet! I love your organization system though and will be applying some of this asap as I’m really trying to get my life in order and whittle down my possessions as I’m planning on moving this year and need to take as little as possible! I too hold onto things a lot longer than I should! I’ve been having mini clear outs almost every weekend and sending a lot of bits and bobs off to the charity shops – it’s getting easier and I’m loving the tiny spots of open space I’m slowly gaining! Still a long way to go so will be keeping up with your videos for tips and tricks!

    Sarah 🙂
    Saloca in Wonderland

  7. Thank you so much for this awesome video! It’s so helpful and you have inspired me to get started on cleaning out my closet! I have sooo many clothes that I haven’t worn in years but I am just hanging on to (can’t even think of a memory or an emotional connection with them) because I am finding it hard to part with them. It helps to know that I’m not alone in this feeling and I am going to start tackling my closet to do some spring clean out too 🙂 Thanks Jen!

  8. I love those crunch cans! I didn’t see any with flowers, did you draw those on the ones you have they are so cute!

  9. super excited about this series!
    do you do anything special with your plastic boxes to have them not smell like a plastic box? in all cases, storing your shoes, or storing holiday decorations.
    when i was pulling out all of my easter decorations a month ago, everything still smelled like the plastic box and it was disappointing.

    1. I haven’t noticed a plastic smell and I have a very sensitive sniffer. I think maybe the smell just dissipates over time.

  10. Congrats on being able to let things go – that’s huge! I love being still able to hand down my clothes to my sisters – things that are perfectly fine, but “just don’t suit me anymore”.

    I was thinking, if you have any items in really great shape/hardly used (like the dresses you mentioned), your items would definitely raise more for charity if you auctioned them off yourself (like the purses), rather than donating them anonymously. Then you could use some of your “you-tube celeb status” would help increase the prices and raise even more.

    Looking forward to more progress. I still watch your older organization projects for inspiration. (not a stalker!)

  11. I found this really useful as I’m currently sorting my wardrobe out and I always have the same problems! Going to try some of your tips and see how I get on!x

  12. Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂 I did a large closet purge last winter, but now I regret donating some of my old t-shirts as I’d love to try cutting them into strips and making t-shirt yarn. I’ve seen some neat things knitted/crocheted out of t-shirt yarn on Pinterest lately!

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